This guide replaces my AVVO November 17, 2011 Guide titled "Immigration: BIA Accredited Representative" based on changes to the recognition and accreditation program that took effect on January 18,2017.
Many individuals do not have the financial capacity to hire private attorneys to assist with immigration law issues. These individuals have the option to seek out assistance from non-attorney representatives who have been given authorized to represent persons before the Executive Office of Immigration Appeal (EOIR) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
From BIA Accreditation to OLAP Accreditation
On January 18, 2017, the rules used by the Federal Government to accredit non-attorneys who were allowed to assist individuals before the EOIR and DHS officially changed. Previously, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) regulated the individuals and the organizations where they worked. These individuals were referred to as "BIA-accredited representative" and where they worked as "a BIA-approved organization." The new rules moved the accreditation process from the BIA to another component of the EOIR called the Office of Legal Access Programs (OLAP). The OLAP replaced the BIA as the manager of organization recognition and individual accreditation application and regulation process.
OLAP Recognized Organizations and Accredited Representatives
The previous BIA website that providing updated information on the representatives and organizations was replaced with a new OLAP website that list provides an alphabetical list of all recognized organizations and accredited representatives. This list is referred to as the Roster of Recognized Organizations and Accredited Representative (Roster).
OLAP recognized organizations are non-profit religious, charitable, social service, or similar organizations that have completed a rigorous application process to receive the approval of OLAP to be able to assist low-income and indigent individuals who have cases before the EOIR and the DHS. The goal of the accreditation of non-attorney representation is to prevent individuals from becoming the victims of fraud.
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